The Bible’s Claim
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 2 Timothy 3:16
…when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 1 Thessalonians 2:13
The Bible is a collection of 66 books penned by different authors from different time periods and backgrounds. It has a powerful claim: that all of the words contained within it are wholly inspired by God and it is therefore infallible. How does the Bible claim this came about?:
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets… Hebrews 1:1
We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:19-21
Peter says that “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”. Evidence of this is clear throughout the scriptures – here’s an example from Jeremiah:
Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay. Jeremiah 20:9
Jeremiah didn’t want to speak God’s words any more – but he was compelled to do so by God’s power. This is an example of how the Bible was composed, not by men, not with their interests at heart – but by God who inspired them to write the words.
For this reason the Bible claims to be the only source of divine wisdom available to man – it does not consider any other writings to be from God.
Why should we believe this claim?
In today’s politically correct and highly educated world, there are many objections to this claim. Why should the Bible be treated differently to any other religious text? On what authority can it make these claims and how can we be sure it is not simply another man made document?
There are a number of reasons why we believe in the Bible – not from a bind faith but through a logical and sound faith based upon solid facts. Consider these reasons:
- Irrefutable prophecies – This might be the most powerful evidence for the Bible’s divine origin. God has gone on record and declared what would happen in future events. These can clearly be seen to have happened (except those which remain to come to pass in the future). The order of the prophecies, the way that some affect whole empires and millions of people, and the exact way in which they have been fulfilled, gives us absolute certainty that God is in control and that He is working out His plan with mankind.
- Its amazing consistency – Although the Bible was penned by over 40 authors, it’s consistent in every detail – from the over-all message and description of God’s plan with mankind, to the smallest most remote comments. The books of the Bible are knit together in harmony – showing that God was the real author who moved men to write His word.
- Archeological evidence – Hundreds of items of archeology have been unearthed, showing that the places and people of the scriptures are completely accurate. Evidence even exists for some of the major incidents in scripture (such as Israel’s Babylonian captivity because of their unbelief), as well as the smallest characters mentioned in passing by the narrative. Archeology supports the Bible’s claim of being infallible.
- Unbiased accounts of shameful events – In the selection and treatment of topics, God’s ways are consistently recorded above man’s ways. Kings, individuals and even whole nations are criticized for not following God. Shameful events, which humans would rather have “covered up” are recorded as examples. The seriousness of sin and the hopelessness man is in without God is a consistent message.
A completed work
The Bible teaches that there were to be no further revelations to man after it had been finalized.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness… 2 Peter 1:3
…If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. Galatians 1:9
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: Revelation 22:18
So everything required for salvation is contained within the Bible and the Bible is not to be added to. Those that claim that additional teachings have been granted to them are not basing their views on the Bible:
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:20
As you will note, the above reasons require a person to open the Bible themselves and study its pages to see if what the Bible claims is true. They require a comparison between what the Bible says and other religious texts and teachings. The majority of people do not have the time or inclination to see whether the Bible is true but this itself does not make it untrue. Ask a critique of the Bible if he or she has ever read it – most will answer no, yet they have made up their minds not to follow it.
Really the question is as simple as this: Is the Bible true? If it is then we all have an obligation to follow it. If it is false, then where is the evidence that refutes it? Each of us only has a set amount of time on the earth and therefore what better way to spend it, than finding out the truth of these matters before us?
Interpreting the Bible
Many people believe that there is no such things as real truth. That many different interpretations can all be right. This has led to the corruption of the Bible’s true message. The Bible itself clearly outlines the rules for its interpretation – consider these verses:
“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed… Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:19-21
It is quite clear from these verses that the Bible interprets itself – the ‘Bible is its own dictionary’ so to speak. We cannot use our own feelings and thoughts to interpret it but must study the Bible and allow it to interpret itself. You often find one part of the Bible will explain another, for example in one part you may have a symbol defined that will unlock another part, and so on.
But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Daniel 2:28
God has revealed the secrets – it’s up to us to study His word and uncover them.
Author: M. Davies, Nottingham, Feb 2009